Deputy Prime Minister and Treasurer Wayne Swan today launched the National Broadband Network in Townsville, marking the first location in Queensland to benefit from the NBN.
Residents and businesses in Townsville can now start work on realising opportunities that the NBN will enable in education, healthcare, business and government services delivery.
"The launch of the NBN today is yet another example of how the Gillard Government is delivering for north Queensland," Mr Swan said.
"The NBN will significantly support growth and create business opportunities for Townsville with its diverse regional economy and strengths in mining and agriculture."
Investment in the NBN is essential for Australia to be an innovative knowledge based economy of the future.Minister for Broadband, Communications and the Digital Economy, Senator Stephen Conroy, said the NBN provides businesses and industry the opportunity to capitalise on rapid communications and new models of service delivery and would provide Townsville the opportunity to showcase improvements in the way healthcare is delivered.
"The NBN will provide the connectivity to allow telehealth services - such as the application to assist diabetes patients profiled at today's launch - to become part of the primary healthcare system between a patient at home and their GP," Senator Conroy said.
Senator Conroy said Townsville is one of five mainland NBN first release sites where NBN Co is testing network design and construction techniques ahead of the national rollout.
"Townsville will continue into a trial phase, which is due to run until October. After that, residents and businesses connected to the NBN will be able to sign up with their preferred retail service provider," he said.
"With Armidale, Kiama Downs/Minnamurra and Brunswick now live and Willunga (SA) to follow shortly, the planning and construction of the NBN is well underway."
"These sites are showcasing the diversity of conditions NBN Co will encounter across Australia in the network rollout."
Townsville is the fourth site on mainland Australia to have the NBN switched on.
On 3 August this year, NBN Co announced that progressive construction would start on the rollout of the NBN in second release sites in New South Wales, Queensland and the ACT.
The construction includes new sites in Queensland at Springfield Lakes, Toowoomba and Aspley in the metropolitan area of Brisbane, in New South Wales at Riverstone in Western Sydney and Coffs Harbor, and in the ACT at Gungahlin. It also includes extensions to existing works in Armidale and Kiama (NSW) and Townsville (QLD).
The first of the nine second release sites and the extension to existing works in Townsville is expected to commence in September 2011.
NBN Co is negotiating construction contracts for the second release sites in other states and the Northern Territory, and expects to finalise arrangements in the near future.
1 September 2011